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TV Zone News Roundup: MISFITS! MUSKETEERS! BBC ZOMBIES!

Written by Paul Mount

TV News

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Welcome to TV Zone News, an occasional round-up of all that’s new in the world of Cult TV…

MISFITS! MUSKETEERS! BBC ZOMBIES!

Following this week’s shock news that Misfits actress Lauren Socha has just received a suspended sentence at Derby Crown Court for a racially-aggravated public order offence committed against a local taxi driver last October, the show’s producers Clerkenwell Films have confirmed that the 21 year-old actress, who plays chavvy “rocket scientist” Kelly in the popular E4 superhero series won’t be returning for the show’s fourth run, currently in production. Clerkenwell insist that Socha’s no-show for the new series is unrelated to her court appearance but it’s hard not to be conscious of their announcement being made the day after the actress appeared in court. Ironically one of the community requirements of Socha’s suspended sentence is that she carries out 80 hours of unpaid work - essentially community service. Misfits fans will appreciate the sad irony. Series four will now feature only one of the original cast - Nathan Stewart-Jarrett’s Curtis who will be rejoined by Joseph Gilgun’s series three newcomer Rudy (Gilgun, presently co-starring in the sci-fi action feature film LockOut, is also currently filming new BBC period thriller Ripper Street starring Matthew McFadyen, due to air on BBC this autumn) and three new characters; Jess, described in casting notes as “like a female Larry David”, Finn “childlike and with a naively optimistic view of life” and  Alex “super good-looking…very stand-offish”. The new cast members for the series have yet to be announced. Misfits will return to E4 later in the year.

Meanwhile, the BBC has announced a string of new drama commissions for the next twelve months, at least two of which are likely to be of interest to Starburst readers. Following the ongoing success of Doctor Who and with Merlin more popular than ever, it looks like a new family adventure drama is on the way. Adrian (Primeval, Survivors) Hodges has developed and written The Musketeers, described as “a fresh and contemporary take on the classic characters created by Alexandre Dumas”. The new series, intended to run as a returning drama and with an initial ten episode order, will tell of the exploits of “a crack team of highly-trained soldiers… confronting impossible odds and fighting any battle if the cause is just.” Starburst sets aside its memories of the recent Paul W S Anderson Three Musketeers feature film and awaits developments with interest… The series won’t screen until 2014.

Most intriguing of all, however, is the announcement of a new BBC3 drama, In the Flesh. Rumours of ongoing BBC budget cuts and the likelihood of BBC3 moving away from drama, strengthened by the recent axing of promising horror drama The Fades after just one series, now seem a little unfounded - at least for the moment. In the Flesh, written by TV newcomer Dominic Mitchell is described as “event drama” and will comprise 3 90-minute episodes. The series is set “after the Zombie Uprising has been quelled by the Human Volunteer Force and life is starting to return to normal. Any surviving zombies have been captured, medicated, held in an NHS holding facility in Norfolk and are being slowly reintegrated into society with the help of contact lenses and cover-up mousse. The story follows teenager Keiron Walker and boldly goes where no zombie drama has gone before.” Hmmm. Those hoping for a distinctly darker British take on zombie horror more akin to The Walking Dead might be advised to keep on hoping - this one sounds resolutely tongue in cheek (if not tongue through cheek). Still, it’s good to see British TV keeping faith with the fantasy genre; even ITV are rumoured to be sniffing round our sandbox again with revivals of two well-remembered British sci-fi TV classics under serious consideration. Starburst will report more as and when…

Over in the States romantic undead twaddle The Vampire Diaries has just been renewed for a fourth series and the long-running adventures of the Winchester Brothers, originally expected to last for just five seasons, have a way to go yet with the renewal of popular horror-lite drama Supernatural for an eighth season. Both shows air on the CW Network in the US and turn up on ITV2 and Sky Living respectively in the UK should you be minded to track them down.


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